Sandusky Speedway race summary 2001-07-28

Sandusky Hy-Miler Goes To Canadian Dave Mcknight; Leaders Crash With Nineteen To Go Sandusky, OH - Dave McKnight took home his first-ever Hy-Miler Nationals win on Saturday night at Sandusky Speedway. The 24th running of this prestigious event...

Sandusky Hy-Miler Goes To Canadian Dave Mcknight; Leaders Crash With Nineteen To Go

Sandusky, OH - Dave McKnight took home his first-ever Hy-Miler Nationals win on Saturday night at Sandusky Speedway. The 24th running of this prestigious event produced some dramatic and emotional scenarios before the checkered fell for McKnight. The Brampton, Ont. driver took over the lead after a lap 81 yellow fell for race leaders Gene Lee Gibson and Lou Cicconi who had crashed racing around a lap car. Both were over the embankment and both were unable to continue, giving McKnight the lead, but it was one he was challenging for anyway. The $6,000-plus victory was the third for McKnight in the Lichty 94 this ISMA season and it catapulted him into the point lead when the top two in the standings - Joe Gosek and Cicconi - met with early demise.

Said McKnight after the huge crowd on hand applauded his victory, "What can I say? I'm exhausted. It's hot in here. Brad(Lichty) pounded into my head to look after the tires, look after the tires - it's a long race. The guys who try and run away will come back. As the race went on, I knew I just had to keep the leaders in sight. Then, you have to make passes where you can without upsetting the race car because the more you upset the race car, the more you burn tires off. Every time you slide a car, you lose more. With twenty to go there, I still had a lot of car left. It was just a matter of getting into the right place.When we got the lead, we just drove away and hid. The car was just good at the end and we were able to be competitive. "The guys on the Patco supermodified team did a great job tonight. We brought home a great victory - our third this year and I'm happy for my car owner, Brad (Lichty). We're going out of here with a win and the points lead. It's only halfway in the season, though, and there is a lot left to happen. We have to keep doing what we're doing and keep going. Hopefully we can bring home the championship. Our goal this year was winning that title. There are a lot of good runners out there. Hats off to the whole team and we look forward to Cayuga and running home in Canada."

Pat Shullick and Howie Lane, amidst a shower of fireworks, led the field of 25 down to the green at the start of the 24th annual Hy-Miler Nationals 100. It was Shullick who immediately ran off with the lead and it would be a while before anyone got close. Lane held off the likes of Joey Payne, Tim Jedrzejek, Cicconi, Gibson, Russ Wood, McKnight and Chris Perley as things sorted out in the long event.

The first surprise of the night came on lap 7 when Friday night's winner, Mike Ordway, exited the race suddenly. An intake valve was the cause. Shullick had some lap cars as cushion by the time the first yellow fell on lap 20 for Lou Cicconi who had spun off the track in between 3 and 4. Cicconi was able to restart, but in the interim, Chris Perley had broken a rack trying to avoid and the 16 of Randy Ritskes suffered terminal ills as the two hotshoes joined Ordway in the pits as the race resumed. At the one quarter mark Shullick was well out front, but Gene Lee Gibson was keeping the leader in sight as his teammate Timmy J ran third. Joe Gosek slowed in the Dunigan 26 on lap 28, and he too was out of the running with a broken rear end.

Two yellows flew between laps 30 and 32 with several drivers affected. Doug Saunier, driving the Lichty 84 was reported ofn while Howard Page stopped the 18 and was pushed to the infield. Jamie Timmons, after a fine Friday run, was on the hook in the Lane 27. Moments after the restart, Joey Payne's 66 stopped with a flat tire among other things. He would restart several laps after the green fell here.

As the field bunched on the restart, Gibson bore down on the 49 of Shullick getting under in turn three and taking over the lead on lap 32. It was now the Gibson-Pat Shullick show out front, but moving up through the traffic was Lou Cicconi, Timmy J, Howie Lane, McKnight, Wood and Nokie Fornoro. Just before the midway mark, things changed at the front. Yellow flew on lap 48 as the 49 of Shullick left the speedway over the bank. He restarted, but pitted on lap 55. The crew said later the fuel pump was thought to be the major cause.

Gibson continued his strong lead with Cicconi moving into second after Shullick's exit. Timmy J and McKnight ran in the top five, but attrition would claim Jedrzejek soon thereafter.

A lap 60 yellow for the 7 of Timmy J brought out the red to allow refueling. A whole new ballgame was about to start. Jedrzejek and Shullick would have a time to make some quick repairs in the interim while Jim Shirey became another mechanical victim with a rear end problem.

The green saw Gibson pull away from Cicconi, but not as easily as before. With 30 to go, the cat and mouse game between the Richwood, OH ace and the Pennsylvania veteran played out. Cicconi got closer and closer while McKnight lay in wait just behind.

As the clock ticked to 80, Gibson and Cicconi swapped the lead back and forth going around lapped traffic. Coming out of three, Cicconi dove low under Gene Lee. With a lap car looming ahead, Cicconi hit the binders, got off the track and came back up into Gibson, leaving both he and Gibson over the bank when the dust settled. Gibson was off on a flatbed while Cicconi was hooked out of the race. McKnight was now in the catbird's seat. "I could see Gene Lee and Louie were getting a little loose," said Dave. " I caught up and I saw the mayhem happen so I kind of backed out a little bit. It was unfortunate that those guys took each other out. That's racing though."

Gibson commented after the race in regard to the incident. "He (Cicconi) didn't do anything I wouldn't have. He was racing for the lead and so was I." The remaining 19 laps were a cakewalk for McKnight as he checked out from Lane and Fornoro. Dave Shullick Jr. ran in fourth with Russ Wood in fifth, the only remaining cars in the lead lap. As the checkered flew for McKnight, a battle still ensued for second between Lane and Fornoro. Fornoro made a dive to get by and just nosed out Lane at the line. Shullick and Wood crossed pretty much alone.

Both Fornoro and Lane, were quietly emotional in victory lane. Said Fornoro, "I haven't been around for a while because my oldest boy has Hodgekin's disease, and this is the first race he's gotten to come to. I'd just like to dedicate this second place to him. He's the bravest kid I know. He's the bravest person I know. But anyway, we didn't have the best car here, but I've got a helluva crew. Starting in the back tonight was hard. It's the first time I've ever run the 100-lapper here. I finished third last year in Friday's race and it rained out on Saturday. I thought it was a quite interesting track to say the least. It's different from any track I've ever been on - more like a paper clip like everyone says. It's a tough track to set up for to do well. I'm happy with a second place finish. I think we did very well for what we had. Our team is a little strained this year and I'm having a tough situation. We were down a bit on horsepower-we're running an old Bentley Warren motor which gets refreshened periodically. But I saved the tires and that helped. I'd like to thank Howie Lane, too, for racing me clean there at the end. Out here you don't have much room to pass. And, I'd like to thank all the people for coming out here tonight. Without you racing doesn't exist, whether it's supers or hobby stocks. I'd also like to thank Jeff(Miller), the car owner, Leo Shea, the crew chief, Mickey Ryan who keeps the team in line and all the rest of the guys who get the car to the track."

Lane, whose second team car finished third on Friday night, said, It was a good race. I'm real happy. The car was real good. I'd like to dedicate my race also to Nokie's son and to my daughter, who also is fighting a tough disease.. They're fighting a longer, harder battle than we fight out here. I love the kids. I don't know why it happens to the kids. I wish it would happen to us, but I'll tell you they're stronger than we are. As to the race, the car was flawless tonight. I think I made one little mistake trying to get by the 67 there. I knew someone was all over me so I tried to go around the 67 and he pushed up and I lost second place to Nokie, but it was real close at the end there -by inches. But, I'll take third. It was a great race. None of us hit each other either. I hope it was good to watch, it was fun to drive."

Shullick Jr., who saw his dad take a wild ride on Friday night and had his own car fail, was content with fourth, "This was a good run for the team. We had a rough day yesterday with both cars, but we bounced back. It's a tough team and we'll be back again. Actually we had a great race car; a car that was probably a lot racier than some of the guys in front of us. We were having a little motor trouble though. Right in the center of the corner the car would bobble a little when I put my foot in it real good. Then it wouldn't pick up down the straightaway. I think we had a better car than what we showed. So, we'll take fourth and go home."

And, Wood, who finished fifth, was realistic in regard to the race attrition."I think we had a tenth or twelfth place race car and we just ended up fifth because a lot of guys were out. We were lucky tonight. We just didn't quite hit it. I was looser than I wanted to be. I tried everything, but we ended up fifth."

The next ISMA events run at Lancaster Speedway(NY) August 4 and Cayuga Speedway on August 5. <pre>

SUMMARY ISMA EVENT #9: Time Trials - fast time Russ Wood 14.54 Top 16 inverted to heats. NT: Howard Page, motor, Jennifer Chesbro, crash in warmups Lost after Friday: Dave Shullick Sr. (crash), Wade Litt (motor)

Heat 1: Howie Lane, Timmy Jedrzejek, Pat Shullick, Dave Shullick Jr., Randy Ritskes, Jack Smith, Mark Sammut, Rusty Ryan

Heat 2: Joey Payne, Joe Gosek, Dave McKnight, Nick Fornoro, Ken Bell, Jamie Timmons, Todd Buchanan, Rich Reid

Heat 3: Gene Lee Gibson, Mike Ordway, Chris Perley, Joe Petro, Jim Shirey, Denny Fisher, Jon Henes, Burdett Bennett

Heat 4: Doug Saunier, Lou Cicconi, Russ Wood, Greg Furlong, Joey Hawksby, John Payne, Joe Grunda, Jen Chesbro, Howie Page, Larry Lehnert(dns)

Consi: Timmons, Smith, John Payne, Fisher, Henes, Buchanan, Grunda, Ryan, Page, Chesbro, Reid, Bennett, Sammut

Hy-Miler Nationals 100: 1. Dave McKnight(94), 2. Nick Fornoro(4), 3. Howie Lane(97), 4. Dave Shullick Jr.(38), 5. Russ Wood(29), 6. Ken Bell(32), 7. Jack Smith(83), 8. Joe Petro(99), 9. John Payne(67), 10. Joey Hawksby(2), 11. Denny Fisher(91), 12. Joey Payne(66), 13. Gene Gibson(77), 14. Lou Cicconi(75), 15. Greg Furlong(12), 16. Jim Shirey(72), 17. Timmy Jedrzejek(7), 18. Pat Shullick(49), 19. Doug Saunier(84), 20. Jamie Timmons(27), 21. Howard Page(18), 22. Joe Gosek(26), 23. Chris Perley(11), 24. Randy Ritskes(16), 25. Mike Ordway(61).


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Series Stock car
Drivers Jack Smith